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May 9, 2018

Nothing for National Teachers’ Day?

May eighteenth has been set aside as National Teachers Day, in honor of the many contributions educators have made towards the development of the nation.  Across the country, schools will be closed next Friday to give teachers an opportunity to enjoy the day in the company of their colleagues.  Several weeks before the official launch of the Civic Center, Minister of Education Patrick Faber told the media that Teachers Day would be celebrated at the spanking new multipurpose complex.  There is prevailing uncertainty tonight, however, as to where and how activities for Teachers Day will be held this year.  That’s because the Belize National Teachers Union and the schools management, both partners with government on a planning committee, have bailed out on the Ministry of Education at a time when government has stated that it is short of money. On Tuesday, B.N.T.U. wrote to inform that it would not be able to make any financial contributions towards the celebration.  According to President Elena Smith, the schools management has also indicated that it, too, will not be donating towards the cause, leaving the Deputy Prime Minister high and dry.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“We are contemplating what will happen now.  As you know, the move to have a National Teachers Day in the rotation cycle is one that has been agreed upon for a few years now.  They have, I think, by branch, maybe by district and then nationally, and this is not the first time that we have sought to have a national day and the B.N.T.U. has been in partnership.  On all of those occasions we have asked the B.N.T.U. to foot a third of the expense of a National Teachers Day.  Whereas in the past they may not have met the one-third, they certainly made some contribution.  Now I am sure that all teachers out there who are members of the B.N.T.U. know and of course, the wider population knows that teachers pay a monthly contribution to the B.N.T.U.  For the B.N.T.U. to say we can contribute absolutely nothing, which is what they’ve said.  They’ve not said we can’t meet one-third of the expense, they’ve said we will give absolutely nothing, that is what I understand.  It’s unacceptable and, you know, when it is that it is not a national year for celebrating Teachers Day, they certainly have to contribute at the branch level or even at the school level or whatever other levels they celebrate Teachers Day.  So it can’t be that they don’t have any funds to contribute and we have to interpret that as a lack of willingness on the part of the B.N.T.U. to celebrate teachers in this country and I hope that their membership does not allow that to slide.”

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